As I am sitting to write a summary about my second residency, I must preface this by saying my experience, though fruitful, was short lived due to the fact that I became very ill. My hospital stay was longer than my residency. I initially thought it was just nerves, but it went beyond that. One might think this would have been my saving grace as did not have to endure the endless barrage of critiques. This is untrue. I felt completely gypped!
I had a perfect block of critiques in my schedule. Though I was nervous, I was also excited to see what type of discourse my diverse grouping of work would generate. The project I was creating for my Critical Theory class was good, and I had already presented on my readings prior to falling ill. My elective—The Ineffable, The Unthinkable, The Unrepresentable—was quite entertaining and I was looking forward to it. I felt I could have really contributed more to both of these classes had my ailment not interfered. A couple of weeks following the residency, I was able to meet with Louise. This meeting finally gave me some closure, yet the door is still a bit ajar. However, I must move forward, confused and exhilarated. These types of contradictory feelings seem to be a common thread in my education thus far, so I must be doing something right.
The critiques I received from peers within my crit group and a couple of professors were positive and riddled with constructive criticism. My biggest issue is contextualizing my work within a modern framework that reads as “Washburn,” and not as an appropriation. Though I dare say my burger, “Patty,” is better than Oldenberg’s. The burger was part of my project, “Language as a Desert.” The response to this work, which is based on the issue of food politics, was split, good versus bad food. When the initial issue of what school children are being fed for lunch came to me, it never occurred to me that there was another whole issue regarding the definitive around what is “good” and what is “bad” food.
I am finding that I am veering quite a bit away from my comfort zone of painting. I love to paint. Quite frankly I will paint anything. This again, presents the problem I have with contextualization. I do not want to be like Jackson Pollock or Claes Oldenberg. I want to be me, Washburn. In pursuit of this, I have been given a fabulous list of artists to look up, that may or may not have anything to do with something I may or may not do, or have done; and therefore, I should research these suggestions in order to further validate the unoriginal nature of my works within this great world of art. I do find when I am conducting my research that I have these moments of shear genius and then the feeling dissipates once I discover “it has been done before.” The list is long and the artists are many. I will list a few here; forgive my spelling as I am still learning: David Shrigley, Tom Freidman, Mitch Headberg, Lewis Black, Michael Raedecker, Josh Smit, Jonathan Seliger, Tim Hawkinson, Andrea Fraser, Jean Lowe, etc. Many of the various recommendations I received are relative to food politics, humor and artifice.
I was unsure as to whether or not people were picking up on the humor. It can be difficult to convey non-verbally. My work, “Paper Napkins,” I find to be quite hilarious and received the positive comment from Sunanda that it was the most original piece of work I had amongst everything I had generated. However, it flew under the radar. Or maybe it is just so good no words are available to convey the greatness of it. Though improbable, it is fun to ponder.
It is at this juncture that I remain equally focused and intensely driven to create more works like “Paper Napkin.” I will pursue the humor within art and within my art. I cannot say I will solely commit myself to gag studies, jokes and the like. The future can only tell. I have another soft sculpture in the works that I hope de-contextualizes that Oldenberg attachment I created for myself. It is important to me that I not give everything away here. I do not want to foil my plans by inappropriately publishing a gag before it occurs and then not be able to follow through with it. It is my hope I remain out of jail and free from trouble as I begin my odyssey. As usual, I am a bit nervous; typically this is a good sign.

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